News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: CBO Numbers, a Russian 'Bombshell,' The Great Rice War and Much, Much More

3110057 05/25/2017 US President Donald Trump, left, and European Council President Donald Tusk before a meeting with EU leaders in Brussels. Alexey Vitvitsky/Sputnik via AP

Good Thursday Morning.

Here’s what’s on the President’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will arrive at European Union headquarters. The President will then participate in an expanded bilateral meeting with European Union leadership.
  • In the afternoon, the President will meet with President Emmanuel Macron of France. The President will then have a working luncheon with President Macron.
  • Later in the afternoon, the President will participate in the NATO unveiling of the Article 5 and Berlin Wall memorials.
  • The President will then participate in the handover ceremony of the new NATO headquarters.
  • In the evening, the President will have a working dinner with NATO leaders. The President and First Lady Melania Trump will then depart Brussels, Belgium, en route to Taormina, Italy.

CBO releases AHCA numbers

The Congressional Budget Office has released its predictions about the GOP’s crappy health care bill, the American Health Care Act, reporting that around 23 million people will be uninsured over the next decade under the plan. It also would result in a $119B deficit reduction over the next ten years. Politico wants you to know the CBO is a NONPARTISAN operation, but I’m not so sure about that.

The nonpartisan scorekeeping office also forecast the GOP plan would cut the deficit by $119 billion over a decade, primarily because of its cuts to Medicaid and private insurance subsidies. That exceeds $2 billion of minimum projected savings the bill needed to hit, which should clear an important hurdle and help the bill’s prospects of getting to the Senate. Senate GOP aides are still checking the analysis to ensure the bill can travel safely across the Capitol.

If you scroll down to the end of the article, you’ll find this:

Those who remain insured would pay less than overall under Obamacare by 2026, an aspect that Republicans seized on soon after the report’s release. But the savings would largely benefit younger enrollees at the expense of older, more expensive Americans — the very demographic that helped President Donald Trump win the White House.

The Democrats and the media love to talk about how whatever President Trump is trying to accomplish will hurt those who voted for him, as if it is a surprise that he planned to repeal Obamacare, or build a wall, or negotiate better trade deals for America. Those who voted for him know what he campaigned on so if they are “hurt” by Trump’s agenda they already knew what to expect.

And speaking of hurt, HHS has released a report revealing that individual marketplace premiums under Obamacare have seen prices double between 2013-2017.

John Sexton points out:

The real question is whether or not Obamacare would have ever gotten off the ground if Democrats had presented the American people with the truth, i.e. this plan will ensure many more people can get good coverage, but the average cost will more than double over the next four years. How would that sales pitch have gone? Democrats could have called it the Universal Care Act instead of the Affordable Care Act, but they didn’t do that. Misleading people about what was likely to happen under the bill was central to getting it passed and now we’re all stuck paying the costs that were downplayed by the authors of the bill.

The bill is now in the hands of the Senate and how they change it and modify it remains to be seen. But in case anyone is looking for an example of what happens when the government controls a health care system, I present you with our very own Veterans Affairs Department.

Look out, here’s another anonymously sourced bombshell about Russia from the NYT

The New York Times released a new “bombshell” from “three current and former American officials familiar with the intelligence” yesterday.

The “bombshell” was scooped earlier in the week when former CIA Chief Brennan informed the House Intel Committee that the Russians have been trying to influence our elections for decades. But, here’s the big news:

American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers, according to three current and former American officials familiar with the intelligence.

The conversations focused on Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman at the time, and Michael T. Flynn, a retired general who was advising Mr. Trump, the officials said. Both men had indirect ties to Russian officials, who appeared confident that each could be used to help shape Mr. Trump’s opinions on Russia.

Since Manafort didn’t hang around the campaign for long and since the current and former American officials have possession of the Flynn phone call with Russian Kislyak, the influence should be fairly cut and dry. Manafort became irrelevant and there’s no evidence that Flynn was turned into a Russian operative, so where does that leave us? With an unsubstantiated whisper campaign.

Rachel Stoltzfoos nailed this game right away when she wrote a piece at The Daily Caller expertly-titled: “Go Straight To The Fifth Paragraph Of The Latest NYT ‘Bombshell’ On Russia Collusion.

But the (few) readers who make it to the fifth paragraph and are paying attention will realize there’s not actually much meat to the report. That paragraph hedges on the information collected by the spies, and notes the reporter has no real clue whether Russian officials actually made any attempt to influence the Trump aides in question. Oh yeah and the Trump campaign as well as both aides have consistently denied the longstanding accusations of collusion with Russia.

Here’s the NYT’s fifth paragraph:

The information collected last summer was considered credible enough for intelligence agencies to pass to the F.B.I., which during that period opened a counterintelligence investigation that is ongoing. It is unclear, however, whether Russian officials actually tried to directly influence Mr. Manafort and Mr. Flynn. Both have denied any collusion with the Russian government on the campaign to disrupt the election.

I have bombshell fatigue.

Maniac Death Cult attacks Catholics, residents in Philippine city, beheads police chief

Another inconvenient story for our tolerant and politically correct media and political class:

Islamic State group-linked militants swept through a southern Philippine city, beheading a police chief, burning buildings, seizing a Catholic priest and his worshippers and raising the black flag of IS, authorities said Wednesday. President Rodrigo Duterte, who had declared martial law across the southern third of the nation, warned he may expand it nationwide.

According to officials at least 21 people have been killed in the fighting.

As details of the attack in Marawi city emerged, fears mounted that the largest Roman Catholic nation in Asia could be falling into a growing list of countries grappling with the spread of influence from the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

The violence erupted Tuesday after the army raided the hideout of Isnilon Hapilon, a commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group who has pledged allegiance to IS. He is on Washington’s list of most-wanted terrorists with a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.

The militants called for reinforcements and around 100 gunmen entered Marawi, a mostly Muslim city of 200,000 people on the southern island of Mindanao, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

It’s almost as if this death cult is on a crusade of sorts.

The great rice war has begun

The American consumer has lived through many food wars: the mayonnaise war, the sugar war, the milk war, and now the era of the rice war has begun. Those of you looking for answers to the burning question “is cauliflower rice really ‘rice’?” might be able to get an answer because the Big Rice lobby is most certainly looking for answers…and action.

“Only rice is rice, and calling ‘riced vegetables’ ‘rice,’ is misleading and confusing to consumers,” Betsy Ward, president of industry lobby USA Rice, said in a statement earlier this month. “We may be asking the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies to look at this.” Ward added that Scott Gottlieb, the new Trump-appointed FDA commissioner, could use his power to enforce the agency’s existing definitions for food, the so-called “standards of identity.”

That’s right, the government has definitions for food and those definitions have been a source of controversy in the past and now the jackboot of government could be used to enforce its definitions. Speaking with candor here: what kind of idiot thinks cauliflower rice is actually rice? The same idiot who thinks rice milk is cow’s milk, I presume. Whoops.

The cauliflower lobby will not go quietly.

“Using the FDA to combat merchandising efforts? That’s a story they’re telling their retail partners,” said Gina Nucci of the California-based produce company, Mann Packing, which sells cauliflower products. “Every section of the grocery store is fighting for the same food dollar. Same share of stomach. Consumers are smart. I don’t think anyone is going to mistake regular rice for a riced cauliflower product, frozen or fresh.”

I, for one, will not stop talking about or cooking with cauliflower RICE, I will speak the words cauliflower rice proudly and I urge you to #resist as well.

Other morsels:

CA considers bill to end free speech zones

Islamic Society scores win against New Jersey town, mosque will get built

Is your fitness tracker lying to you?

University sued after student arrested for handing out constitutions

Google snoops on your shopping, location

In Oregon, white people driven out of their burrito business

That’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!